Maureen Quilligan

Maureen Quilligan

R. Florence Brinkley Distinguished Professor Emerita of English

External address: 
320 Allen Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90015, Durham, NC 27708-0015
(919) 681-2149


Maureen Quilligan has as a primary field of interest in the Renaissance, with special attention to women and literature. She has published four books: The Language of Allegory: Defining the Genre (1979) Milton's Spenser: The Politics of Reading (1983), The Allegory of Female Authority: Christine de Pizan's Cite des Dames (1991) and Incest and Agency in Elizabeth's England (2005). She has also co-edited three volumes of essays titled Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe (1986) and Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture(1996) and Rereading the Black Legend: the Discourses of Racial Difference in the Renaissance Empires (2008). Among other fellowships she has held a Guggenheim and an ACLS and was awarded the Sidonie Clauss Prize for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities at Yale (1983) as well as the Undergraduate Advisory Board Teaching Prize at the University of Pennsylvania (1997). She is at work on two current projects: female political authority in the sixteenth century, and slavery in the Renaissance epic.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1973

  • M.A., University of California - Berkeley 1967

  • B.A., University of California - Berkeley 1965

Quilligan, M. “Allegory and Female Authority.” Thinking Allegory Otherwise, edited by Brenda Machovsky, Stanford University Press, 2009.

Quilligan, M. “Incest and Agency: the Case of Elizabeth I.” Generation and Degeneration, edited by Kevin Brownlee and Valeria Finucci, Duke UP, 2003.

Quilligan, M. “Freedom, Service, and the Trade in Slaves: The Problem of Labor in Paradise Lost.” Object and Subject: Reconstructing Renaissance Culture, edited by Margreta de Grazia et al., Cambridge UP, 1995.

Quilligan, M. “The Language of the Body: The Taming of the Shrew and The Tragedy of Mariam.” Renaissance Sexuality, edited by James K. Turner, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.

Quilligan, M. “Christine de Pizan and Canon Formation.” Displacements: Woman Tradition Literatures in French, edited by Nancy K. Miller and Joan DeJean, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins P, 1991, pp. 126–43.

Quilligan, M. “The Constant Subject: Instability and Authority in Wroth’s Urania Poems.” Soliciting Interpretation: Literary Theory and Seventeenth-Century English Poetry, edited by Elizabeth Harvey and Katharine Maus, Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990, pp. 273–306.

Quilligan, M. “Feminine Endings: The Sexual Politics of Sidney’s and Spenser’s Rhyming.” The Englishwoman in Print: Counterbalancing the Canon, edited by Anne M. Haselkorn and Betty S. Travitsky, Amherst, MA: U of Massachusetts P, 1990, pp. 311–25.

Quilligan, M. “The Anthropology of Intertextuality: Mary Wroth and the Family Romance.” Unfolded Tales: Essays on Renaissance Romance, edited by Gordon Teskey and George Logan, Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1989.

Quilligan, M. “Sidney and His Queen.” The Historical Renaissance, edited by Richard Strier and Heather Dubrow, Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1989, pp. 171–96.

Quilligan, M. “Milton’s Spenser: The Inheritance of Ineffability.” The Ineffable Word: From Dante to Eliot, edited by Peter Hawkins and Ann Schotter, A.M.S. Press, U of California P, 1985.


Quilligan, M. “Theodor De Bry's voyages to the new and old worlds.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, Dec. 2011, pp. 1–12. Scopus, doi:10.1215/10829636-2010-010. Full Text

Quilligan, M. “The Key of Green: Passion and Perception in Renaissance Culture.” Modern Language Quarterly, vol. 72, no. 2, Duke University Press, Jan. 2011, pp. 259–62. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00267929-1161387. Full Text

Quilligan, M. “Review of Mary Wroth by Margaret Hannay.” Renaissance Quarterly, University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Quilligan, M. “Review of Bruce R. Smith's The Key of Green.” Modern Philology, 2011.

Quilligan, Maureen. “Margaret P. Hannay. Mary Sidney, Lady Wroth. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010. xxxiv + 363 pp. index. illus. chron. bibl. $99.95. ISBN: 978–0–7546–6053–8.Renaissance Quarterly, vol. 63, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2010, pp. 1422–23. Crossref, doi:10.1086/658617. Full Text Open Access Copy

Quilligan, M. “Recent studies in the english renaissance.” Sel  Studies in English Literature, vol. 43, no. 1, Jan. 2003, pp. 233–95. Scopus, doi:10.1353/sel.2003.0009. Full Text

Quilligan, M. “Review of K. Schwarz’s Amazon Love.” Shakespeare Studies, 2003.

Quilligan, Maureen. “Recent Studies in the English Renaissance.” Sel Studies in English Literature 1500 1900, vol. 43, no. 1, Project Muse, 2003, pp. 233–85. Crossref, doi:10.1353/sel.2003.0009. Full Text

Quilligan, M. “Renaissance materialities: Introduction.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, vol. 32, no. 3, Sept. 2002, pp. 427–31. Scopus, doi:10.1215/10829636-32-3-427. Full Text

Quilligan, M. “On the Renaissance Epic: Spenser and Slavery.” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 100, no. 1, Duke University Press, Jan. 2001, pp. 15–39. Crossref, doi:10.1215/00382876-100-1-15. Full Text


Quilligan, M. Renaissance Materialities. Vol. JMEMS, Duke UP, Sept. 2002.

Quilligan, M., et al. Object and Subject: Reconstructing Renaissance Culture. Cambridge UP, 1995.

Quilligan, M., et al. Rewriting the Renaissance: Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. University of Chicago Press, 1986.